Sushi and expensive kaiseki dinners are incredible, but sometimes you need something a little less sophisticated.
Okonomiyaki may not be the most photogenic of dishes but it will leave you feeling full, warm and content. Okonomiyaki starts as a savory pancake made of thinly chopped cabbage mixed with flour, egg and a bit of dashi broth. You can then top it with meat or seafood and a variety of other toppings to create one of the most comforting foods in all of Japan.
- Come hungry
- Goes great with beer or lemon sours
- Popular for after-work dinners so consider visiting at lunchtime if you don't want to wait
Kansai is considered the birthplace of okonomiyaki. Kansai-style okonomiyaki is the base on which other styles begin. A simple combination of cabbage, flour and egg cooked on an iron griddle and then topped with sliced pork and savory-sweet barbecue sauce, drizzled in Japanese mayonnaise and sprinkled with Aonori—powdered dried seaweed.
Unlike Kansai-style okonomiyaki, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is not mixed but layered, and also includes noodles. It is made by cooking the flour and egg batter, then piling on cabbage and other toppings. It is then flipped on top of a bed of Chinese style noodles and cooked until crispy. This is guaranteed to fill you up.
Tokyo-syle okonomiyaki, also known as monjyayaki, is a bit different from the other styles. The main ingredients are grilled first, moved into a stainless steel ring, and the batter is added to the middle. The batter contains a much larger amount of dashi broth, making the Tokyo style much runnier than other styles. It is eaten directly off the grill using a special spatula.